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Terme a guilloche


#1

Dear Orchids

In reading about Peter-Carl Faberge, I discovered that his workshop
used an engraving machine called a “terme a guilloche”, but I can’t
find any more info about it. If you’ve ever studied a close-up photo
of the engraving under the enamel on a Faberge egg, you’ll know why
I’m interested. It is perfectly cut, often with repeating wave
patterns that show absolutely no variance in shape or depth. Could
anyone suggest where I might find something about the terme a
guilloche?

I’ve also tried to no avail to find out what process is used to
engrave contemporary watch faces like Breguet’s. Any info?

Richard Hyer in balmy, sunny Chicago, where only a few brave
sailboats are still in the harbor.

Richard Hyer
Tel: 773-404-2755
Fax: 773-404-2756
@rickhyer


#2

Hello Richard,

I believe that guilloche is a type or engine turning. You will find
some on this web site http://www.pledge.co.uk/

Timothy A. Hansen

TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
web-site : www.home.earthlink.net/~tahhandcraft


#3

Richard I had a chance to see some of the Faberge eggs in an
exhibition of a private collection, while I was attending school. I
thought the effect was just beautiful. I believe it is machined, that
is why there is no variation in depth of line. I don’t know what
machine would be used to replicate that. I think possibly a lathe,
because when you use a lathe to spin hollowware, they often seem to
have the same line ( without the wave) so presumably you could do the
effect with the right tool and speed. I think you might want to look
in the direction of spinning or lathe work. I would think some of the
enamelist on the list would have some info as I don’t think its all
that obscure Hope this helps Brigid Ryder


#4

Richard,

I believe what you are looking for is a machine [mill?] that does
"engine turning". About 5 years ago I saw work at a craft show in
Santa Monica from a fellow that was using this technique as
embellishment on small turned hardwood boxes. The tops had a sort of
shield design while the sides had a repeating linear design [including
those wonderful waves]. I also recall seeing a book around the same
time.

The show was the Contempory Crafts Market. A current postcard I have
from them states “Prewiew the artists”. Possibly they also have info
on past artists. www.CraftSource.org

If I understand the process, the mill is set up on gears that create
the repeating pattern as a surface design. You can also see these
designs on old pens, watches, compacts. As I tried to visualize what
was happening a Spirograph kept jumping to mind, the offset gears
eventually creating a design. The geometry and mathmatics of having
the beginning of the design align with the end started to boggle my
brain.

The fellow I spoke with [with the wooden boxes] said that he had
searched for quite awhile before finding the old machine and then more
time trying to figure out how to make it work. Of course there were no
instructions.

Good Luck…Karla in cloudy Southern Calif


#5

The guilloche machine “tourne a guilloche” is a machine such as an
engine turning machine, rose engine lathe or Holtzappfel lathe that
can cut into the surface of an object to create both consistent and
symmetrical patterning and off center, free form type patterns. The
patterns one can create and the forms ( flat, curved, etc) one can cut
into depend on the machine used to decorate the piece. Two great sites
with loads of on engine turning are
http://turners.org/index.html, the Ornamental Turner’s site and
http://www.pledge.co.uk/, Pledge & Ashforth Engine Turners. The are
others out there, but the two mentioned are the best. Erika Speel’s
"Dictionary of Enameling" also has some important on
guilloche and the work of Faberge. Snowman and von Hapsburg books on
Faberge are also essential reading. I have recently purchased a
straight line engine turning machine with the help of the jewelry
chairperson and one of my professors at FIT and am very excited about
learning how to use it. Our school has also bought a machine for the
studio majors. I know it will take me a long time and a lot of
practice to get a decent looking piece, but I am willing to stick it
out. Two weeks ago I atttended a jewelry auction preview at Christies
and held two pieces from Faberge’s Wigstrom workshop being exhibited
next to the jewelry. Both were rosy light pink (a difficult color on
silver!) guilloche enamelled pieces, a lorngette and a glue pot.
Absolutely gorgeous and so precious. If you ever get the chance to
come to New York , try to hit the auction houses because Faberge
pieces come up every so often. It’s a great chance to see fine
craftsmanship and how things are put together. Juliet Gamarci
julietg@excite.com


#6

I thought guilloche was a type of machine pattern engraved into the
surface of the metal. Specifically the type of patterns you find
under the enamel on the famous pieces done by Peter Carl Faberge.
From what I have read the patterns were made by what was called a
guilloche lathe. And just as an aside does anyone out there know
where I could have that kind of pattern put on some of my pieces
before I enamel them? Thomas


#7

Hello all, Juliet has a very precise explaination of “guilloch�”. I
don’t know the word in english: it is a technical word and I
could’not find it in my dictionnary, but in french the machine is a
"tour � guillocher". “guilloch�” consists in many many very small and
parallel lines engraved in the precious metal, making wavies or
straight lines, or concentric circles, and so on. The most skillfull
craftsmen could suggest effects of “moir�” (“shot” according to my
dictionnary). Faberg� succeded in making very thin “guilloch�”, and
covering it with his fantastic enamels. The result was a felling of
deepth and transparency never reach before. “Guilloch�” is made with a
lathe, the engraving point of it moving while the piec is turning:
chidren have a toy that works the same way, they put a penball in the
holes of a plastic gear which turn in a greater one and make
repetitive patterns. Yann GUILLEMOT www.webcarats.com


#8

Richard, I don’t know for certain, but I’d always assumed that
Faberge and similar works were engraved using an ornamental lathe,
which is a lathe for making pretty patterns, not a highly decorated
lathe…

These things are based around chucks of frightening complexity,
housing a mass of gears that are set up specially for each job. They
turn the job the way you don’t want a normal lathe to, that is
anything except concentrically. The toolholder too, which usually is
a sort of small milling head, can be moved about, all driven by the
machine itself.

Engraving on flat jobs, is, by contrast, “simple”. Often known as a
Rose engine", the gears usually move just the cutter head in a
complex pattern, with the job just rotating. Anybody remember the
"Spirograph" toy that allows you to draw these sort of patterns on
paper? – Kevin (NW England, UK)


#9

Richard, I don’t know for certain, but I’d always assumed that
Faberge and similar works were engraved using an ornamental lathe,
which is a lathe for making pretty patterns, not a highly decorated
lathe…

These things are based around chucks of frightening complexity,
housing a mass of gears that are set up specially for each job. They
turn the job the way you don’t want a normal lathe to, that is
anything except concentrically. The toolholder too, which usually is
a sort of small milling head, can be moved about, all driven by the
machine itself.

Engraving on flat jobs, is, by contrast, “simple”. Often known as a
Rose engine", the gears usually move just the cutter head in a
complex pattern, with the job just rotating. Anybody remember the
"Spirograph" toy that allows you to draw these sort of patterns on
paper? – Kevin (NW England, UK)


#10

Richard, I don’t know for certain, but I’d always assumed that
Faberge and similar works were engraved using an ornamental lathe,
which is a lathe for making pretty patterns, not a highly decorated
lathe…

These things are based around chucks of frightening complexity,
housing a mass of gears that are set up specially for each job. They
turn the job the way you don’t want a normal lathe to, that is
anything except concentrically. The toolholder too, which usually is
a sort of small milling head, can be moved about, all driven by the
machine itself.

Engraving on flat jobs, is, by contrast, “simple”. Often known as a
Rose engine", the gears usually move just the cutter head in a
complex pattern, with the job just rotating. Anybody remember the
"Spirograph" toy that allows you to draw these sort of patterns on
paper? – Kevin (NW England, UK)


#11

Check out these two links sent from Juliet Gamarci;
http://turners.org/index.html and http://www.pledge.co.uk/ The Pledge
Company link is the best. They explain the machines and the
process very well and also the expertise it takes to do the machining.